Covid Connections

Those of us who have lost someone to Covid share a bond that others may not understand. Here I share a post from my FB page the morning of December, 5, 2020. My children's father, Ernie, died of covid on the morning of December 6, 2020.

December 5, 2020 12:15 pm

Ernest, my first husband and the father of my five children is in the ICU at UVRMC, likely dying of COVID-19. He has multiple risk factors—76, overweight, diabetic. He had a knee replacement the first week of October, from which he has not fully recovered. Yesterday evening, our children had to make some really difficult decisions really fast about how much to intervene. Please have your Advance Directives in place.

Ernie and I have been divorced for 28 years. Our kids asked for memories of their father. I make this post for them.

In high school, Ernie and his life-long best friend Dan Eldon Brough performed numerous slapstick sketches, often including piano and bass fiddle. Ernie and Danny loved to make music and loved to make people laugh. The home of Dan and his wife, Jeanette, was our favorite vacation destination. At first, many days in the sand and waves—Hermosa Beach between Avenue I and J. And later many hours in the pool at their house at the top of the Palos Verdes Peninsula with the awesome view of LA. Jeanette's Mom and Dad, Joyce and Elmer, and her brother and sisters were, still are, our California family.

In 1967-68 Ernie became part of “Eight Penny Suitcase,” arguably the best band on the BYU Campus that year, rockin’ the house with “La Bamba” and “Gimme Some Lovin.’” Ernie was on keyboards and vocals. Sam Kershaw, who also became a life-long friend, was lead guitar and lead vocals. Ralph Geddes was the drummer. And the completely cool George Spilsbury was on the bass guitar and vocals. Sam, Ernie and all of them insisted on a clear sound and strong rhythm. No muddy music from this group.

In Gunnison, Ernie had bands with his brother, Randy, and brothers-in-law, Nick Anderson and Ron Marshall, my life-long friend, Tim Christenson, and LouDonn Petersen and others, in various configurations. They played gigs from Ephraim to Cedar City, anything from the bar to the Elks’ Lodge to weddings and reunions. They practiced in our basement. Have amp, will travel.

At home Ernie had a reel-to-reel TEAC recorder on which he could lay down multiple tracks of sound and music, tinkering endlessly. I heard from Sam’s wife, Nan, today. When Sam died in Oct 2006, she found multiple CD’s that Ernie made of these tracks—marked Ernie’s Songs and Sam’s Songs and multiple dates.

In the family room, Ernie had a great sound system and great speakers for the Beatles, the Mama’s and the Papa’s—California Dreaming—Fleetwood Mac, Deep Breakfast, Toto—everything on Africa, The Alan Parsons Project and the Charlie Daniels Band.

One of our daughters once snagged a loose twenty from her Dad to make an unauthorized purchase of a cassette tape—Sic Sic Sputnick. Her father obligingly recorded Willie Nelson over the tape for her. He thought it was hilarious.

When we bought the Star Theatre in Gunnison in 1981, he installed a Dolby sound system. He loved movies, and he wanted them to sound good. During one early showing, Ernie, as the projectionist, tried to turn down the sound on the F word, but turned it up instead. Also hilarious.

Ernie could be a good cook, making delicious Tex-Mex food—his mother’s heritage, and a respectable barbeque, also courtesy of his Texas grandpa. But he was also known for making his kids Nightmare Hash for breakfast—anything in the fridge was fair game, spaghetti, corn-meal mush, anything. If he could fry it, they could eat it. Ask them!

Ernie loved music. He loved to perform. He loved to make people laugh.

To my awesome husband, I express my endless love and gratitude for your kindness and support during this difficult time. I love you, baby.

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